Policy Updates

Each week, Donor Tracker's team of country-based experts bring you the most important policy and funding news across issue areas in the form of Policy Updates.

NGO report finds UN gender equality goal out of reach

September 15, 2023 | Netherlands, Gender Equality | Share this update

On September 15, 2023, Dutch NGO Plan International published a report titled "Goals Off Target: Accelerating the SDGs with girls and young women", which found that 85% of SDG gender equality indicators fell behind schedule for the 2030 SDG deadline.

The report was based on a sample of 26 countries. It highlighted the effects of ongoing conflict, conservative politics, and climate change in reversing progress on SDG #5.

The report found that:

  • Physical and sexual violence against girls and women increased in the majority of the sample countries;
  • The number of girls who fall victim to genital mutilation remains high despite progress in some countries; and
  • All countries failed to sufficiently implement legislation promoting gender equality.

The report called on the development community to make more determined and practical efforts to challenge harmful societal norms at all levels of society. It also noted that greater investments in women-led collective action and a clearer focus on local implementation could magnify the grassroots impact of the SDGs.

The report was published in anticipation of the UNGA SDG Summit, which is slated to take place on September 18 and 19 in New York, USA.

Press release - Plan International press release (in Dutch)Report - Report: Goals Off Target: Accelerating the SDGs with Girls and Young Women

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Norwegian Prime Minister to co-host clean cooking summit

May 14, 2024 | Norway, Nutrition, Agriculture, Nutritious Food Systems, Global Health, Gender Equality | Share this update

On May 14, 2024, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the president of the ADB Group, and the executive director of the International Energy Agency co-hosted the Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa.

The aim of the summit was to emphasize 2024 as a turning point for progress on ensuring clean cooking access for all.

Støre noted that nearly four in five Africans cook their meals over open fires and traditional stoves, using wood, charcoal, animal dung, and other polluting fuels that have severe impacts on health, gender equality, and the environment. Women and children are especially affected. Støre announced that Norway will support the financing of clean cooking with more than NOK500 million (US$46 million).

Press release - Norwegian government (in Norwegian)

Australian FY2024/25 ODA budget rises slightly to US$3.2 billion

May 14, 2024 | Australia, Gender Equality, International development, Climate | Share this update

On May 14, 2024, Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered the annual Australian budget, which showed the ODA budget rising slightly to AUD5 billion (US$3.2 billion) for FY2024/25.

0.19% ODA/GNI was expected in 2024. Notably, Australia included the grant element of concessional infrastructure loans in the overall ODA figures for the first time.

Within the ODA program, expenditure on the Pacific was expected to rise to almost 40% of the total ODA budget.

AUD144 million (US$93 million) was estimated to be spent on climate and the environment. A new Climate Resilient Communities Fund in the Pacific is slated to receive AUD100 million (US$65 million) over 3 years. Environment spending included AUD200 million (US$129 million) for a Pacific Resilience Facility over 4 years. An Indonesia Environment Partnership will receive AUD200 million (US$129 million) over 4 years.

The gender equality, inclusion, and disability sectors are estimated to receive AUD102 million (US$66 million), including for implementation of expected new strategies for gender equality, LGBTQI+ rights, and disabilities. This also included funds for an Indo-Pacific Gender Equality Fund and a Southeast Asia-based GBV prevention program.

Press release - DFAT

Norwegian government proposes increased support to Ukraine, Palestine in revised budget

May 14, 2024 | Norway, International development, Global Health, Climate | Share this update

On May 14, 2024, Norwegian government announced that it will increase support for Ukraine and Palestine in the proposed revised state budget for 2024 by NOK1 billion (US$92 million) each.

In addition, the budget will receive a further NOK100 million (US$9.2 million), making 2024 development assistance budget Norway's second-largest ever, corresponding to 0.98% ODA/GNI. The additional support to Ukraine and Palestine will be channeled through the UN, the Red Cross, and Norwegian humanitarian organizations.

In order to increase the funding to Ukraine and Palestine and to cover increased refugee expenses in Norway, the government is reallocating NOK1.6 billion (US$148 million) from other parts of the development assistance budget. The government proposed a reallocation from the health (NOK125 million; US$11.6 million), climate (NOK171.6 million; US$16 million), and civil society (NOK185 million; US$17 million) sectors.

The state guarantee scheme for renewable energy in LICs will also be postponed until 2025. The government underlines that the proposed reprioritization will not entail a breach of existing agreements.

Press release - Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)

US joins others to support African-led agricultural growth

May 10, 2024 | Ireland, Canada, US, Netherlands, Germany, UK, France, EUI, Agriculture | Share this update

On May 10, 2024, USAID joined the AU Commissioner and 14 other partners in a statement of support for the African Fertilizer and Soil Health Action Plan at an AU-led soil health summit.

The US also announced US$40 million for the Space in Place approach, which is meant to support farmers with geospatial data and knowledge to ensure the best use of fertilizer for more nutritious foods.

Others joining the statement included the ADB, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, France, the World Bank, France, Canada, the EU, Germany, the Netherlands, the Rockefeller Foundation, Germany, and the UK. Commitments included improved investment policies, more access to fertilizers, enhancing soil inputs and interventions, and building capacity for soil health and fertilizer management.

Press release - USAID

KOICA signs MoUs with eight international organizations

May 10, 2024 | South Korea, International development | Share this update

On May 9, 2024, KOICA signed a MoU with the IFRC to support conflict-affected and fragile states, the most recent of a series of memoranda in 2024.

KOICA has signed MoUs with eight international organizations to implement new programs to support conflict-affected and fragile states in 2024, including with the IFRC. On February 28, 2024, KOICA and the IOM signed an MoU, followed by memoranda with UNFPA, UNHCR, and the WFP though May 9, 2024. KOICA is slated to sign three more memoranda with UNDP, ICRC, and UNICEF by May 17, 2024.

KOICA’s budget for conflict-affected and fragile states increased from KRW33.5 billion in 2023 to KRW123.3 billion in 2024. KOICA is slated to implement eight new programs to support more than 20 conflict-affected and fragile states, with a total of KRW243.6 billion over three years. The new program is designed to respond more effectively to transnational crises by providing long-term, 10-year support for regional projects. KOICA will also undertake the South Korean government’s strategy to implement the HDP nexus through the new programs.

Press release - Korea International Cooperation Agency (in Korean)News article - Localsegye (in Korean)

Canadian international development organizations call for governmental reponse to Haiti crisis

May 10, 2024 | Agriculture, WASH & Sanitation, Nutritious Food Systems, Gender Equality, Global Health | Share this update

On May 10, 2024, more than 40 Canadian international cooperation organizations issued an open letter to the Canadian government to call for a response to the cross-cutting crisis in Haiti, foster greater coherence in Canada’s foreign policy, and better demonstrate Canada’s feminist approach to promoting peace and security.

The letter, addressed to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other top ministers and backed by representatives from Haitian civil society, presented recommendations for a resolute and lasting contribution to resolving the crisis in Haiti. Haiti’s ongoing political crisis has fostered an environment of violence, SGBV, food insecurity, and socio-economic insecurity.

The signatory organizations called on the Canadian government to champion Haiti’s cause by:

  • Support the political transition process: Canada should recognize and support the recently sworn-in Transitional Presidential Council so that it can effectively implement the “Political Accord for a Peaceful and Orderly Transition” to restore constitutional normalcy and legal order. Canada should also insist on broad political representation of all segments of society, particularly women and youth;
  • Stand against arms trafficking: Canada should encourage international responses and engage in advocacy with the US to stop arms trafficking to Haiti by providing the security forces with logistical and financial support to help restore public security; and
  • Improve development and humanitarian assistance: Canada must reconsider the current project-based approach to development and humanitarian funding, which often fails to reach the most vulnerable people and most affected areas. Canada should work with CSOs to implement the triple nexus approach, combining interventions structured in the humanitarian, development, and peace fields as well as increase and diversify its funding to reach more affected sectors, including agriculture, health, protection of civilians, WASH, shelter, education, economic support, and more.
Cooperation Canada

UK emphasizes security, importance of supporting multilateral organizations

May 9, 2024 | UK, Climate, Global Health, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health | Share this update

On May 9, 2024, UK Foreign Minister David Cameron spoke on UK foreign policy at the National Cyber Security Unit, where he highlighted that UK foreign policy is linked with ensuring the domestic prosperity and security and the UK's place in the world, noting that the UK is both large enough to make a significant impact but small enough to act nimbly and quickly when needed.

Cameron noted that the top priority for the UK is ensuring both British and global security, reiterating the UK government’s commitment to spend 2.5% of GDP on defense by 2030 and committing 5% of the spending to defense R&D.

Cameron went on to note that a close second priority was standing up for British values of freedom, human dignity and human rights and supporting the multilateral system that upholds these values. He highlighted how much more funding the UK provides to tackling malaria via the Global Fund than Iran, and how much more the UK spends than Russia on funding the UN Central Emergency Fund for humanitarian disasters. Cameron also emphasized the UK's generosity as a donor to the GCF to support oceans and biodiversity.

Cameron expressed pride in the UK’s recent International White Paper and its drive to support the UN SDGs, reform MDBs, and enhance cooperation with the private sector.

Speech - UK government

South Korea shows 21.4% increase in funding for grant projects

May 9, 2024 | South Korea, International development | Share this update

On May 9, 2024, South Korea’s MOFA hosted the Grant Assistance Institutions Council 2024 to discuss 2025's grant projects, which total a reported KRW4.16 trillion (US$3.2 billion), an 21.4% increase compared to 2023.

30 relevant grant agencies, including government ministries, KOICA, and other grant implementing agencies, attended the Council.

The increase reflected South Korea’s stated willingness to expand contributions to the international community. Based on the discussion, the MOFA noted that it will develop a comprehensive implementation plan for 2025 grant assistance.

In 2024’s project review process, 74 private experts from 14 fields, diplomatic offices, and relevant departments within the MOFA were consulted to reflect the views of the business and private sector as well as strengthen the link between foreign policy and international development cooperation strategies.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)News article - Korea (in Korean)

US to provide additional US$31 million to Rohingya refugees

May 9, 2024 | US, Nutrition, WASH & Sanitation, Global Health | Share this update

On May 9, 2024, USAID and the US State Department announced that they will provide an additional US$31 million to support Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

The additional funds are slated to assist the almost one million refugees who have fled Myanmar and have been living in crowded refugee camps for years. The assistance will include healthcare, WASH services, nutrition, and other live-saving protection. Particular focus will be on treating malnourished children through Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods.

Since the start of the refugee crisis, the US has provided almost U$2.4 billion for assistance to the region. US partners include UNHCR, IFRC, IOM, and UNICEF.

Press release - USAID

Tuvalu to receive US$12 million from Australia to extend coastal adaptation project

May 9, 2024 | Australia, Climate, Security policy | Share this update

On May 9, 2024, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced that Australia would provide AUD19 million (US$12 million) to extend the Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project, bringing the total Australian contribution to the project to AUD38 million (US$24 million).

The coastal adaptation project is one aspect of the Falapeli Union. Under this union, Tuvalu and Australia have agreed to an annual pathway for Tuvalu citizens to study, live, and work in Australia in response to climate change. Tuvalu faces climate challenges, with sea level rises likely to affect the whole nation. Increasing cyclonic events and rising sea levels threaten the nine inhabited islands of Tuvalu, which have an average elevation of only 1.83 meters.

In addition to the Australian funding, the project is receiving assistance through the GCF. It was the first project in the Pacific to be awarded assistance through the GCF.

Investments through the project will include improving the national ability to manage coastal protection responses as well as implement physical measures, including seawalls and rock and concrete revetments.

Press release - Foreign Affairs MinisterWeb Page - Green Climate Fund

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